new astro city


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sitting inside our neighborhood all-night indian food restaurant that my roommate and I frequent, I watched the devastating blizzard wreak havoc on Metropolitan expressway no. 4. I was finished with my hot cassis and only had one thing on my mind: to film.

I watched through the window as the unforgiving winds continued to barrage endless amounts of snow in front of us. for a moment I imagined being out there in the shit. breaking (another) umbrella, getting pelted and stung in the face by ice crystals, my nose running, my feet wet and freezing, and not being able to feel my fingers. the thought was not welcoming.

I had my camera on me with my initial intentions staying clear. I really wanted to take a shot of a shrine I saw covered in snow on the other side of the highway. the thought of crossing the tundra of hell only faltered me with doubt for a second–I decided I hate regret more than I hate blizzards. I have reoccurring nightmares about regretting not documenting something that catches my eye. I’d rather be cold and uncomfortable to get the shot then at home, warm and lazy, without photo. this is how I’ve always lived my life and I should know myself by now.

saying good-bye to my roommate, we split ways. her, back to our heated, cozy room and me, about to enter into the Arctic wasteland once known as Tokyo. I blindly burst out the door with determined vigor and I was suddenly in a post-apocalpytic ice world. I ran head-on into the snowy winds to the overpass and gasped when I looked up to see the stairs completely engulfed in snow. it looked like the side of a snowy mountain. I jumped on top and began climbing a near vertical slope in a foot of snow. I laughed out loud excitedly like a kid. I became submerged into my own rpg imagination game from my days on the playground during recess. I was in the zone.

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I felt invisible in the best way. free to do what I want because this world was now lawless and any survivors kept to their own agenda. I hid in a spot where snow couldn’t touch, under the highway on top of the overpass. I could rest, recoup and imagine my next move. I sat there trying to feel my fingers and check the status of amount of snow that fell into my boots. maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that? or maybe my appendages were already too numb and gave up on nerve endings. I listened to the occasional truck pass overhead, shaking and rumbling with chains on their tires. it was all at once a therapeutic noise and an intimidating sound. maybe depending on your outlook on life. I think even in the apocalypse I would keep a hopeful stance.

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the once bustling streets and sidewalks of sasazuka were now sparsely sprinkled with life. a couple of zombies slowly trudged through the storm, not noticing my presence nearby. lost souls, I imagined. a flickering parking sign for an empty lot pulsated above me. icicles were hanging on tight. I put my umbrella on my back like a sword, held in place by my small backpack. my camera protected under my coat and phone in my pocket–equipped. I sprinted around on my new mysterious mission: to reboot my series of making short films to video game music.

night snow is the best snow. neon and fluorescent lights reflect on the new terrain, reshaped by blankets of tiny soft ice. it covers up whatever rules man once deemed important. no more streets, no sidewalks, curbs, painted lines, signs of the law–all vanquished under white. reset. no more one ways, go whichever way you want. any path you carve is yours and you can see it clearly when you set your foot down, deep into the snow.

I got the shots I went looking for and more. I retraced my steps, falling back into my own footprints to 1) confuse the enemy and 2) avoid more snow falling into my shoes. I looked at palm trees drooping, unable to carry the heavy unfamiliar density on their leaves. in the street lamps they casted ominous shadows, looking like tentacle-clad creatures I would have to fight with my umbrella sword for experience points and gold. gold for an onigiri, onegaishimasu.

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I had no idea what time I set out on this quest, no concept of how long I was out in the blizzard. I moseyed around to capture what I could, trying to sustain patience and warmth. the blizzard didn’t let up, I was soaked to the bone, but happy. I got a few more shots of glowing lights, rustling shadows and quiet, motionless night time serenity contrasted with an abandoned city. I already knew which Final Fantasy III track I wanted to edit the video to.

I felt satisfied enough to return to reality. although the thought of peeling off my cold, soggy clothes almost seemed like too much a chore to want to bother with a warm room. if I had the proper snow-resistant equipment I could have stayed in that world for days. but eventually the sun rises and the snow sloppily drips and melts, creating an ugly muddy world I would rather not witness.

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February 18, 2014 days, photos